How to Choose and Plant a Pear Tree

Pear trees are second in popularity only to apples, and are just as suitable if you have a small garden. David Hall explores the best varieties to choose and how to grow these wonderful fruit trees.

Created by David Hall on Friday, 28th of August, 2015.


pear tree

Pears do best in deep moisture retentive soils with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. They don't like the extremes of light soils or heavy clay but these can be improved in the normal way by the addition of organic matter, gravel and mulching to make them more suitable.

The ideal position would be sunny and sheltered, keep away from frost pockets particularly as the trees tend to flower early in the year.

Form and Height

'Bush' trees are the most popular and will mature at between 10 – 20ft. They can also be grown as a fan, cordon, espalier, stepover and festoon, but these need careful training against walls or with posts and wires.

The two main rootstocks on which pear trees are grown are:

Quince A: Good for poorer soils and the most common rootstock found in garden centres,

Quince C: Less vigorous than ‘Quince A’, and therefore will produce smaller trees which fruit
earlier, this rootstock is more suitable for growing cordons on fertile soil.

The final height of a tree will also depend on variants such as climatic conditions, the application of fertiliser and pruning techniques.

Variety

If you are not lucky enough to have another pollinating variety close by, you will need two trees that flower at the same time or, as flowering times overlap, are in the next pollinating group to produce worthwhile fruit. Pears can be split into early, mid and late flowering varieties:

Early: Williams (easy to grow, good cropper), Beth (best eaten fresh)

Mid: Conference (reliable heavy cropper), Buerre Hardy (very tender and juicy), Onward (soft
and succulent)

Late: Gorham (good cropper with a musky flavour), Doyenne du Comice (best of the late autumn pears)

Note that Onward was bred from Doyenne du Comice and they do not cross pollinate.

Good cooking pears are Hellens Early (Mid), Invincible (Early) and Humbug (Late).

The choice of variety largely depends on personal preference in terms of flavour and texture but note that some varieties such as Conference are more hardy than others.

Planting

Container grown trees can be planted at any time of the year. Water the tree while it is still in the container. If the soil is easy to work, it is necessary only to dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball. If the soil is poor, dig deeper and wider, and mix in some organic matter or fertiliser with the top soil that has been dug out. Take the tree from the container and tease out the roots quite vigorously if they are pot bound. Returning the top soil, plant the tree at the same level as it was in the container. Firm the soil. Place two short stakes inside the wall of the hole and a cross bar. Tie the trunk of the tree to the cross bar, water thoroughly and mulch.

For bare rooted trees, plant in their dormant period i.e. late autumn and winter. Dig a hole about 3ft in diameter, putting the top soil to one side. If the soil is poor, mix into the top soil some organic matter and fertiliser. Drive a sturdy stake (at least 2ins in diameter) deep into the hole, ensuring the top will be well several inches below the lowest branch. Fill the hole, shaking the tree to work the soil around the roots. Note the previous soil level (visible on the tree stem) and ensure that the tree is planted at the same level. Firm in, mulch and tie to stake.

Maintenance

Pears require no more maintenance than any similar fruit tree. Water well in dry spells, apply a balanced feed and mulch in the spring and prune each year.

Related Articles

What To See At This Year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

What To See At This Year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show takes place next month and Nathan James Dodd looks forward to what you'll discover at the largest annual show of its kind.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Monday, 20th of June, 2016.

How Thrive's Accessible Gardening Changes Lives

How Thrive's Accessible Gardening Changes Lives

The Society for Horticultural Therapy is an organisation generally known as Thrive, and David Coton recently learnt more about their projects, training and consultancy.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 16th of June, 2016.

New Report Wants NHS To Prescribe Gardening

New Report Wants NHS To Prescribe Gardening

Once again a report has been published linking the benefits of gardening with healthy minds and bodies. The King's Fund findings are outlined by Nathan James Dodd, and they include recommendations that gardening should be promoted as a way of improving health.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Monday, 30th of May, 2016.

How To Create A Herb Garden

How To Create A Herb Garden

Interest in growing herbs has increased sharply over the last few years, many are used in cooking and others have valuable medicinal qualities. Nathan James Dodd gives you advice on what herbs to choose and how to grow them.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Wednesday, 11th of May, 2016.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

David Hall David Hall

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

How To Care For Your Spring Lawn

How To Care For Your Spring Lawn

Pay attention to your lawn in the spring and Andy Taylor reckons you will receive dividends later in the year.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Wednesday, 9th of March, 2016.

Choosing Timber and Wooden Planters

Choosing Timber and Wooden Planters

Looking to buy a timber planter but not sure what to purchase? David Coton provides some helpful advice on the many different designs that are available and how they can transform your patio and garden.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 21st of March, 2017.

Why A Log Store Is Essential If You Have A Wood Burner

Why A Log Store Is Essential If You Have A Wood Burner

Log burners and open fires have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Andy Taylor explains how you can have a continuous supply of dry, well seasoned, wood by investing in a log store.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Tuesday, 21st of March, 2017.

How To Successfully Grow Greenhouse Plants

How To Successfully Grow Greenhouse Plants

With spring well under way, you may be considering buying a greenhouse, Andy Taylor tells you how this will increase your chances of successfully growing a wider variety of plants over a longer period of time.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Friday, 17th of March, 2017.